Restaurant apps, biscuit theaters, and Airbnb

In this week’s episode of Branding Bites, Shawn and Kacha dive into the world of restaurant apps to discuss which restaurants are delivering a great app experience. And as always, they share their thoughts on everything of note in food, beverage, and branding this week!

Click play for their answers to questions including:

  • When is it a good time to invest in an app? (at :15)
  • Will Holy Chicken, the new restaurant from the man behind Super Size Me draw a crowd? (at 1:54)
  • Is McDonald’s new move toward table service a good one? (at 2:21)
  • Will millennials be interested in Bojangles’ Biscuit Theatre? (at 2:40)
  • Is booking restaurant reservations via Airbnb convenient or confusing? (at 3:03)

Rather read than watch? Check out the transcript below!

// Transcript

Kacha: Hi everybody and welcome to Branding Bites. My name is Kacha. I’m the strategy director here at Skidmore Studio.

Shawn: Hi, I’m Shawn, design director. We’ve got a lot of great stuff again so let’s jump right in.

Kacha: Well, we’ve got one great thing. One question. When is it a good time for restaurants to invest in an app?

Shawn: I think it’s a great time to invest in an app when you’ve got a lot to offer, a lot of great stuff to offer beyond that. Starbucks comes top of mind. They’ve got great stuff beyond just ordering. I can download my free song of the week. I can download my free app of the week. I can see what’s playing on Spotify. There’s a lot of other reasons to have that app. I can visualize my rewards instantly.

Kacha: Totally great.

Shawn: A lot of great reasons beyond menus and hours. I think, on average on the high end maybe, people have three restaurant apps on their phone. Competing for that space is tough. It’s a limited, limited market. Maybe you don’t need an app.

Kacha: Yeah, maybe you don’t. What if instead you focus on going where your audience is. For example, I was just hearing Whole Foods has invested in a Facebook Messenger chatbot. As you’re cooking meals you can message with this chatbot for recipes. Also, Taco Bell, we love talking about Taco Bell.

Shawn: Love Taco Bell. Great app too.

Kacha: Taco Bell has integrated into Slack, an employee communication channel. I can order at work and then go down and pick it up. Finally, my favorite use of technology in restaurants, I don’t know if you know about this one though …

Shawn: I have a feeling it has something to do with an emoji.

Kacha: It always does. Domino’s, all I have to do is tweet an emoji of pizza to Domino’s. They take care of the rest and a pizza shows up at my doorstep. That’s the perfect use of technology in restaurants.

Shawn: It’s the simplest possible thing.

Kacha: It’s awesome. All right, let’s do Bittie Bites.

Shawn: Great, Bittie Bites.

Kacha: Bittie Bites is this segment of the program where we open the mysterious envelope and pull out things we haven’t seen that are about restaurants and branding in food and beverage. Then we give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Lay it on me.

Shawn: Here we go. Holy chicken! Holy chicken, a new restaurant concept from the maker of the Super Size Me documentary.

Kacha: The Morgan-

Shawn: Morgan Spurlock.

Kacha: A restaurant concept from Morgan Spurlock. No, he is synonymous with, “Restaurants are bad for me.” Why would I go to a restaurant from Morgan Spurlock?

Shawn: He’s got an uphill battle, but I think he’s become a brand in and of himself and people are going to want to check it out.

Kacha: So we’re giving it a thumbs up?

Shawn: Thumbs up.

Kacha: All right, crazy.

Shawn: Great. All right. McDonald’s table service. You can order on a kiosk app and they bring it to you.

Kacha: Yes, this I love because it brings a really great experience. I sit down, I get to rest, a human being brings me my food. It’s perfect. It’s just exactly what I wanted. I love this. This is great.

Shawn: Bringing it to all stores in the U.S., big fan.

Kacha: Okay, awesome. Let’s do that.

Shawn: Bojangles’ Biscuit Theater.

Kacha: I just heard about this and I have to say I’m totally not into it because I don’t want to see how the biscuits are made.

Shawn: I’m super pumped about it. I didn’t know they made biscuits and now I do, so that’s a huge win. Thumbs up.

Kacha: You’ve got a point. When I can see the food being made actually it does increase my affinity for wanting to eat it. “Oh it’s fresh.”

Shawn: Let’s me know they’re making it there.

Kacha: All right, okay.

Shawn: Airbnb is now allowing users to book restaurant reservations through their platform.

Kacha: Really?

Shawn: Really.

Kacha: Okay, I like the idea of making my life as a user easier. I hate the idea for Airbnb because they’re synonymous with booking reservations and places to go, not things to eat. Maybe I’ll stick it in the middle. I don’t love it.

Shawn: It confuses the brand.

Kacha: All right. Yeah.

Shawn: Thumbs down.

Kacha: I think we agree about that.

Shawn: That’s the last for Bittie Bites.

Kacha: All right, fantastic. Thank you everybody and thank you for the questions last week. If you have more questions, please hit us up on Twitter @skidmorestudio and we’ll see you next week.

Shawn: Thanks everyone.